Russell will be coming home for a few days later this week. It will be good to see him — and to subject him to the initial parental once-over.
If you’re a parent, you know what I mean. When your children leave home and you see them only once in a while, you can’t help but give their familiar faces some careful scrutiny the next time you see them. The passage of time always brings a fresh perspective. Usually my reaction is: they look and act so much older, like the adults they have become. The chubby cheeks and white-blond hair of childhood are long gone, replaced by the visage of a mature, functioning twenty-something who is in control of his life.
With this visit, though, I suddenly realize that the tables may be turning. When I was a twenty-something living in D.C. and came home for a visit, I remember looking at my parents and thinking that they were the ones who were looking older — a bit grayer, a bit more lined, a bit more stooped, and a bit more deliberate in their actions with an occasional wince as they rose from the kitchen table after dinner. When Richard and Russell come home for their occasional visits these days, will they now be checking us out and seeing those telltale signs of age?
I’m going to have to pay more attention when I look in the mirror this morning as I get ready for work.